Jay-Z Makes Surprise Visit to 'Soul of a Nation' Opening at L.A.'s Broad Museum

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Jay-Z and Beyonce

A private gala on Friday night kicked off the new exhibition, which includes a print from Beyonce and Jay-Z's personal Carter Collection.

Art from Jay-Z and Beyonce's personal collection is now on display at The Broad in Los Angeles, and the superstar rapper made a surprise appearance on Friday night to check in on his piece's new home.

The Los museum is featuring a new exhibit detailing the African-American experience in a time of political unrest through the paintings, photos and sculptures, titled "Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983" and running from Saturday through Sept. 1. A private gala on Friday night kicked off the exhibition, which includes a print by Los Angeles-based artist David Hammons from Beyonce and Jay-Z's Carter Collection. Pieces owned by Spike Lee and producer Hunter Gray are also featured. 

Jay-Z made an unannounced stop at the opening night party, taking a personal tour of the exhibition and posing for dozens of photos with fellow museum-goers, as well as founders Eli and Edythe Broad. He also spent an extended period of time in front of his own piece, discussing it with art curators. 

The star-studded event also included Angela Bassett, Courtney B. Vance, Sacha Baron Cohen, Isla Fisher, Michael Ealy, Fran Drescher, Lisa Edelstein, Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Debbie Allen, along with Jay-Z's in-laws Tina Knowles Lawson and Richard Lawson. 

On the red carpet, Drescher spoke about the importance of featuring art from the Civil Rights era in the current political climate, saying, "Art can move a generation of people to think in a new light. We depend on artists to help us do that, to move the masses and this was very significant during the Civil Rights Movement and I think now more than ever, here we are in the 21st century and we really need to be reminded about what needs to change, what we need to challenge, to never become complacent, to never accept racism, to never allow anybody to be marginalized, to never allow people to have their civil liberties compromised." 

Mowry-Hardrict echoed a similar message, saying she has family members who have survived the Civil Rights Movement and exhibitions like this one give necessary attention to that time and teach lessons for today. 

"I think we have taken a step backwards, but I've always believed that there needed to be some sort of improvement. I think now there's more of a spotlight on it because of the climate that we're in right now," the actress told reporters. "There are positives and negatives to that; the positives are I feel like racism has always been there, being a black woman and growing up with a black mother, but a lot of people didn't think it was still present. But now that there is a spotlight on it, more people are able to see that it is still present." 

Former Paramount CEO Sherry Lansing, who serves on the board of The Broad, added that the exhibit is particularly important in Los Angeles, where it is "diverse art that speaks to a diverse audience and makes us aware of the many cultures that make up our city." 

Admission to The Broad is free; entrance to the special exhibit is $18 for adults and $12 for students, with free entry from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays. Throughout its run, "Soul of a Nation" will also be accompanied by a number of public sit-down conversations, including one with filmmaker Ava DuVernay and another with Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem.